Welcome to the English Program

The Department of English and Comparative Literature prides itself on providing the UNC community with a vibrant, intellectually engaging place for the study of language and literature. We offer a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate programs.


Distinguished Writer-in-Residence

2015 Distinguished Writer-in-Residence:

Terry Tempest Williams 

Tuesday, March 24

7:30 p.m., Genome Science Building


Terry Tempest Williams will also participate in several panels. For more information, click here.  




First Year Seminars Program

Many English and Comparative Literature faculty at UNC create and teach engaging first year seminars.

"First-year seminars are designed and structured for incoming first-year students with no prior college experience. Students join distinguished faculty members who are active scholars and accomplished teachers in small classes that offer an introduction to the intellectual life of the university and focus on how scholars pose problems, discover truths, resolve controversies, and evaluate knowledge.

First-year seminars go beyond the traditional lecture and discussion format. They invite students to explore new and old ideas, engage with complex issues, and become active learners through inquiry, analysis, discovery, and action."

See http://fys.unc.edu for more information, and check out the video below, featuring our own Professor Jane Danielwicz!

Critical Speakers Series: Kate Marshall

Professor Kate Marshall (University of Notre Dame) will soon visit campus as part of the Critical Speakers Series. See the embedded poster PDF for more information. 

Seminar: "Contemporary Fiction in Geological Time" // February 23, 3:30 pm in Gaskin Library, 524 Greenlaw Hall.

Talk: "Novels by Aliens: Nonhuman Narration and American Realism" // February 24, 3:30 pm in Toy Lounge, Dey Hall. 

Professor Marshall has pre-circulated several PDFs. Click HERE to access the files (you must be logged in with your UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature profile; if you have trouble accessing the files, contact the SITES lab). If you would like acess to the files but do not have a UNC DOECL log-in, please contact Kyle Rood (krood@live.unc.edu) to request the papers. 






Lecture and Discussion with Renisa Mawani

The Komagata Maru, Anticoloniality, and the Itinerant Politics of Indigeneity
A public lecture by Renisa Mawani


Thursday, February 19 • 4-530pm • Donovan Lounge, 2nd Floor, Greenlaw Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill


The ship Komagata Maru – which carried 376 Punjabi migrants from Hong Kong to Vancouver – was the first vessel to be deported from North American waters in 1914. Thus, its journey has come to signal a high mark in immigration prohibitions and racial exclusion in Canada. While this historical narrative is significant in illuminating Canada’s long history of legalized racism and its ongoing politics of settler colonialism, the ship’s journey must also be viewed as a global transoceanic voyage, one that made visible the political, juridical, and racial unevenness of the British Empire. As the ship crisscrossed the Pacific and Indian Oceans it facilitated connections between India, the Dominions, and other British colonies and outposts (including Hong Kong, Malaya, and Singapore). Importantly, its voyage also galvanized support from British Indians across the empire, most notably in India and South Africa.

Drawing from her book, Across Oceans of Law, Professor Mawani's lecture will foreground one effect of the Komagata Maru’s journey: the emergence of a transoceanic anticolonialism that engendered a global and itinerant indigenous politics.




The Atmospherics of Race

A discussion with Renisa Mawani

Friday, February 20 • 4-6pm • Donovan Lounge, 2nd floor, Greenlaw Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill


This seminar will explore the relationship of postcolonial and critical race theories to recent scholarship on affect, species, and new materialisms. In preparation for the seminar, please read the two articles available at https://planetarities.web.unc.edu/events-2/



Renisa Mawani is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, where her research focuses on colonial legal history, critical race studies, oceanic studies, and colonial India and its diaspora. She is the author of Colonial Proximities: Crossracial Encounters and Juridical Truths in British Columbia, 1871-1921.



For more information on these events, please contact Neel Ahuja at nahuja@email.unc.edu. Professor Mawani's visit to UNC is sponsored by the South Asia Faculty Working Group, with the support of the Center for Global Initiatives and the Carolina Asia Center. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Arts and Humanities and the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Critical Speakers Series 2015



KATE MARSHALL (University of Notre Dame)

— Seminar: “Contemporary Fiction in Geological Time”

February 23 (Monday)

3:30 pm

Gaskin Library, 524 Greenlaw Hall

—  Talk: “Novels by Aliens: Nonhuman Narration and American Realism”

February 24 (Tuesday)

3:30 pm

Toy Lounge, Dey Hal

LISA LOWE (Tufts University)

— Seminar: “Liberalism and Empire” 

March 19 (Thursday)

3:30 pm

Donovan Lounge, Greenlaw Hall

— Talk: “Colonial Difference and the Neoliberal Present”

March 20 (Friday)

3:30 pm

Toy Lounge, Dey Hall


For more information on Visiting Speakers and Faculty Talks, please contact David Baker.

Congratulations to the University Teaching Awards Winners!

Congratulations to our colleagues who have won University teaching awards:
Eric Downing, who is jointly appointed in German and Comparative Literature, was recognized for distinguished teaching at the Post-Baccalaureate level.
Eliza Richards won a Chapman Family award for outstanding teaching, which confers a semester’s fellowship at the IAH.
Suzanne Geiser won a Tanner Award commending outstanding teaching by a graduate student.

Thank you all for your outstanding work in the classroom!

Professor Mary Floyd-Wilson's Book Picked as One of Choice Magazine's 2014 Outstanding Academic Titles

Congratulations are in order for Professor Mary Floyd-Wilson, whose Occult Knowledge, Science, and Gender on the Shakespearean Stage has recently been named as one of Choice magazine's 2014 "Outstanding Academic Titles." 

Professor Eliza Richards Attends Translation Symposium in China

In the Fall of 2014 Professor Eliza Richards traveled to China for a translation symposium entitled “Emily Dickinson Dwells in China―Possibilities of Translation and Transcultural Perspectives.” This trip was made possible by the generous support of the Carolina Asia Studies Center. 




Book Reading by Professor Jennifer Larson and Professor Henry Veggian

Professor Jennifer Larson and Professor Henry Veggian read from their books for the Understanding American Literature series at the Bulls Head Bookstore on November 19, 2014, at 3:30 pm. Professor Jennifer Larson reads from Understanding Suzan-Lori Parks (1:00), and Professor Veggian reads from Understanding Don DeLillo (14:20). Both professors answer questions at the end of the presentation (42:30).


Professor Jessica Wolfe Reelected as Comparative Literature Delegate for the Renaissance Society of America

UNC Professor Jessica Wolfe has been reelected for a second, three-year term (2015-17) as Comparative Literature delegate for the Renaissance Society of America (RSA). In addition, she will also continue to serve on the editorial board of Renaissance Quarterly, RSA's journal for the interdisciplinary study of the Renaissance. Click here to read the official announcement.